French architect and biologist Timothée Boitouzet describes himself as a deep-tech entrepreneur. He was trained as an architect, but soon realised that existing building materials are not suitable for use today. As a result, he became a chemist and focused on wood for construction. “We need to use renewable materials now. We cannot depend on current materials to move into the future.”
With this in mind, Timothée created an enhanced wood material called Woodoo by removing one molecule and replacing it with another. This new wood is translucent, fire-resistant, weather-resistant, and 3–5 times stronger than regular wood. It can even be used to build skyscrapers.
Timothée works non-stop as a changemaker, helping to renew the construction and other industries with bio-based renewable materials. His invention is already helping to improve the auto industry. “Our first products will be dashboards and smart wood trim. Imagine just by touching your dashboard, it becomes interactive. This seamless technology is integrated with design.” The technology can also be applied to shop interiors and office flooring.
To create Woodoo, Timothée works with lower-grade species of trees like poplars, aspens and firs that are more plentiful. Eventually, he hopes to decrease the demand for more expensive, slower-growing “luxury” wood trees.
Timothée believes people tend to see the environment in three ways.
“First, there is the Negator who believes nothing can be done. Secondly, there is the Reductionist who only advocates to stop consuming. I see myself as the third, an Interventionist. I believe we can solve big problems with technology. Telling people to stop is not viable. We have to keep living our lives, but with technology we can do so without damaging the environment. There is intelligence in nature that we haven’t discovered yet.”
His advice for becoming a hero for nature is to stick to your mission no matter how hard it seems. Things you can do right now include eating less meat (Timothee says try insects, they are the future of farming according to him), turning out lights and buying sustainable products.